April 03, 2020
Thank you for all of your work this week to prepare for the roll-out of PPS-HD, our home-based distance learning program, on Monday. We realize the efforts you are making are in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis. We know our educators are concerned about their students; we also know that educators, like all of us, have their own families to manage, as well.
I know that the 3rd Quarter is set to end on April 6th, which would be a planning day on our regular calendar. Because of the school closure, we are not requiring teachers to complete report cards for K-8 students. For our high school students, we have to handle the situation a bit differently due to credit requirements for graduation. At this time, however, no grades will need to be entered for report cards. We will communicate with high school administrators about how to proceed with 3rd Quarter grades once we have more information about graduation requirements from the ODE.
We have heard from educators who are eager to reconnect with their school community but are wondering about expectations going into next week. Next week, the goal is simply for you to make connections and check in with your students, while continuing to practice with our digital tools for online learning.
We are currently in the process of finalizing a contract with a company that will provide a solution for educators to contact students without revealing their cell phone number. The product is called REMIND and we hope to have it functional early next week. If you do contact a student next week who is in need of a computer, internet access or other essentials (meals, mental health supports), we encourage you to let your building administrator know.
We are working on guidelines for instructional delivery that will begin on April 13 and we want to make sure that we are providing you and our students maximum flexibility for your daily schedule. We have been in contact with PAT leadership regarding our guidance and they have provided feedback to us that we are incorporating into the guidance. The document we are creating is guided by the following principles and goals:
- Flexibility is acknowledged as key to navigating the circumstances students, families, and educators may be facing
- Prioritize access, equity, inclusiveness and connection
- Spirit of collaboration
- Expectations of continuous learning opportunities
- Ongoing educator support and guidance
- To maintain and strengthen connections with students and families--when physical distancing is necessary, social and emotional connectedness is critical.
- To ensure the continuation of student learning through virtual environments, platforms, and responsive practices.
Monday will begin a school week unlike any other in our district’s and community’s history. During this extraordinary time of school closure, the role of the educator remains essential to the lives of students and the success of our community. Students and families are eagerly awaiting your return, even through a computer, and so are we.
Shawn Bird, Ed.D.
Chief of Schools